Downscaling of land use change scenarios to assess the dynamics of European landscapes

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<ul><li><p>ch</p><p>ur</p><p>chu</p><p>iversi</p><p>ne 10</p><p>Europes rural areas are expected to witness massive and rapid changes in land use due to changes in demography, global trade, technology</p><p>Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environmand enlargement of the European Union. Changes in demand for agricultural products and agrarian structure are likely to have a large impact</p><p>on landscape quality and the value of natural areas. A spatially explicit, dynamic, land use change model has been used to translate European</p><p>level scenarios into a high resolution assessment of changes in land use for the 25 countries of the European Union. Scenarios differ in</p><p>worldview, ranging from enhanced global cooperation towards strong regionalisation on one hand and strong to weak government</p><p>intervention on the other. Global economic and integrated assessment models were used to calculate changes in demand for agricultural</p><p>area at country level while a spatially explicit land use change model was used to downscale these demands to land use patterns at 1 km2</p><p>resolution. The land use model explicitly accounts for the variation in driving factors among countries and the path dependence in land use</p><p>change trajectories. Results indicate the large impact abandonment of agricultural land and urbanization has on European landscapes and the</p><p>different scenarios indicate that spatial policies can make an important contribution to preserve landscapes containing high natural and/or</p><p>historic values. Furthermore, the dynamic simulations indicate that the trajectory of land use change has an important impact on resulting</p><p>landscape patterns as a result of the path-dependence in land use change processes. The results are intended to support discussions on the</p><p>future of the rural area and identify hotspots of landscape change that need specific consideration.</p><p># 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.</p><p>Keywords: Europe; Downscaling; Land use change; Scenarios; Landscape</p><p>1. Introduction</p><p>Europe has a varied and dynamic landscape in which</p><p>agriculture is one of the dominant land use types. The</p><p>environmental and social variability within Europe, in</p><p>combination with a variety of agricultural policies, has</p><p>created a complex and often dynamic pattern of land use.</p><p>Since land use is the result of human decisions, the patterns</p><p>of land use reflect the decision-making processes by those</p><p>who control land resources. Agricultural policies such as the</p><p>availability of subsidies, fixing of quotas on food production,</p><p>the setting aside of land in return for monetary compensation</p><p>and schemes to encourage farms to diversify, have caused</p><p>rapid changes in European landscapes over the past 50 years.</p><p>More recently, European integration and globalization</p><p>processes are accelerating, e.g. in 2004, 10 new member</p><p>states (the accession countries) entered the European Union</p><p>bringing about a larger internal market and the challenge to</p><p>bridge socio-economic differences between older and newer</p><p>member states. These processes will have an impact on the</p><p>European landscapes: spatial development and planning</p><p>policies have to keep pace with and attempt to provide some</p><p>control over these developments.</p><p>Many studies have confirmed that massive changes in the</p><p>European countryside are to be expected. The well known</p><p>study Ground for Choices in the early 1990s showed an</p><p>enormous decrease in agricultural area for the member states</p><p>of the European Union for all scenarios considered upon</p><p>reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and supposed</p><p>optimization of production practices (Rabbinge et al., 1994;</p><p>Latesteijn, 1998). Although this study may have over-* Corresponding author. Tel.: +31 317485208; fax: +31 317482419.</p><p>E-mail address: (P.H. Verburg).</p><p>0167-8809/$ see front matter # 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.agee.2005.11.024Downscaling of land use</p><p>the dynamics of E</p><p>Peter H. Verburg *, C.J.E. S</p><p>Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen Un</p><p>Available onli</p><p>Abstractange scenarios to assess</p><p>opean landscapes</p><p>lp, N. Witte, A. Veldkamp</p><p>ty, P.O. Box 37, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands</p><p>January 2006</p><p></p><p>ent 114 (2006) 3956</p></li><li><p>Such assessments cannot merely be based on local case</p><p>stemestimated the adaptation of agricultural technology, recent</p><p>studies by Rounsevell (Rounsevell et al., 2005) and van</p><p>Meijl et al. (this issue) still indicate considerable decreases</p><p>in agricultural area for most of the studied scenarios. These</p><p>projections have raised enormous concerns about rural</p><p>livelihoods and the contribution of the current agricultural</p><p>areas in terms of nature conservation, biodiversity and the</p><p>European landscape (Vos and Meekes, 1999). Furthermore,</p><p>European landscapes are threatened by unprecedented rates</p><p>of urbanization and sub-urbanization (Antrop, 2004;</p><p>Wasilewski and Krukowski, 2004) while at the same time</p><p>policies are anticipated to better protect natural areas and</p><p>valuable landscapes (Jongman, 1995). Traditional land-</p><p>scapes are changing with increasing speed and an important</p><p>cultural heritage is becoming lost. New landscapes replace</p><p>the traditional ones gradually or sometimes abruptly</p><p>(Eetvelde and Antrop, 2004).</p><p>A multitude of studies have addressed the concerns of</p><p>changes in land use and landscape in Europe. However, only</p><p>few have covered the whole extent of Europe (Rabbinge and</p><p>Van Latesteijn, 1992; Rounsevell et al., 2005) while many</p><p>studies investigate specific processes of land use change in</p><p>local case studies (Burgi, 1999; Peppler-Lisbach, 2003;</p><p>Hietel et al., 2004; Kristensen et al., 2004). Such local case</p><p>studies of landscape change have a tendency to focus</p><p>primarily on cases that are exemplary for the studied</p><p>processes or where land use change leads to severe</p><p>environmental problems (Burgi et al., 2004). Furthermore,</p><p>most local studies focus on historical changes in landscape</p><p>(Burgi, 1999; Tress et al., 2001), are not necessarily</p><p>representative for large areas and cannot provide informa-</p><p>tion on the aggregate impact of these changes at the</p><p>European level. On the other hand, the existing studies at the</p><p>European scale provide an overview of the main land use</p><p>changes but fail to integrate the different processes of</p><p>change and are conducted at such coarse spatial and</p><p>temporal scales that they cannot provide insight into the</p><p>consequences of the foreseen changes on the landscapes.</p><p>The observed gap between European level explorations</p><p>of future changes in agricultural area and local case studies</p><p>evaluating landscape impacts of ongoing processes, mostly</p><p>based on historic observations, is apparent and calls for</p><p>downscaling approaches that link the European level</p><p>developments to landscape level impacts. Such downscaling</p><p>is essential to adequately capture the enormous variability in</p><p>landscapes across Europe. A gross estimate of, for example,</p><p>5% decrease in agricultural area within the next 20 years is</p><p>not likely to affect all regions in a similar way. Even, given</p><p>such European level changes, it is not unlikely that certain</p><p>regions experience an increase in agricultural area. Down-</p><p>scaling will allow an assessment of these differential</p><p>developments and enable the identification of critical</p><p>regions and places that are most vulnerable to the effects</p><p>of these changes. The impacts on landscapes and other social</p><p>and environmental indicators can often not be based on the</p><p>P.H. Verburg et al. / Agriculture, Ecosy40coarse scale assessments since most impacts are locationstudies since case study location selection is often biased to</p><p>the presence of the phenomenon that is studied and results</p><p>cannot easily be extrapolated to the European extent.</p><p>Therefore, the downscaling of European level assessments</p><p>of land use change is essential to understand variations</p><p>between locations and make assessments of European level</p><p>impacts. Finally, downscaling provides both physical and</p><p>strategic planners with the tools that are required to envisage</p><p>the outcome of particular trends and assess the implications</p><p>of alternative decisions and planning strategies at different</p><p>spatial scales (Stillwell and Scholten, 2001).</p><p>To our knowledge there are no studies published in</p><p>literature that downscale European level scenarios of future</p><p>change in political and socio-economic conditions to a</p><p>resolution suitable for detecting landscape change. One</p><p>exception is the recently published scenario study for the</p><p>original 15 countries of the European Union by Rounsevell</p><p>et al. (2005). However, this downscaling effort, based on</p><p>simple land allocation rules, does not downscale beyond a</p><p>spatial resolution of 10 min (approximately 16 km). This</p><p>resolution does not allow the identification of land use</p><p>change effects at the landscape level and is insufficient to</p><p>establish a link with local case studies.</p><p>This paper presents a study that employs a high resolution</p><p>land use change model to downscale land use changes from</p><p>macro-scale models to the landscape level.</p><p>2. Methods and data</p><p>2.1. Overview of the approach</p><p>In contrast to the Ground for Choices study published in</p><p>the early 1990s (Rabbinge and Van Latesteijn, 1992;</p><p>Rabbinge et al., 1994) the current study does not aim at</p><p>presenting optimized options for European land use given a</p><p>set of goals and policy objectives. Moreover, this study</p><p>intends to provide a procedure to visualize and explore</p><p>different, plausible, developments in land use in Europe.</p><p>Therefore, a scenario-based approach was chosen. Scenarios</p><p>follow the concept storylines of the IPCC Special Report onspecific and dependent on the spatial patterns of land use.</p><p>Impacts on biodiversity of natural areas not only depend on</p><p>the overall change in nature area but also on the change in</p><p>spatial configuration of the natural areas, determining the</p><p>relative connectivity or isolation of the natural areas</p><p>(Wimberly and Ohmann, 2004). Changes in livelihood in</p><p>areas that face abandonment of agricultural land are</p><p>expected to be highly variable, due to the spatial</p><p>concentration of land abandonment. Impacts of such</p><p>developments on carbon sequestration and land degradation</p><p>are highly dependent on the actual soil and landscape</p><p>conditions at the locations of abandonment; therefore</p><p>requiring high resolution assessments of land use change.</p><p>s and Environment 114 (2006) 3956Emission Scenarios (SRES) (IPCC, 2000) which are</p></li><li><p>structured along two axis yielding four scenarios distin-</p><p>guishing globalization from regionalisation; and develop-</p><p>ment pursuing narrowly defined economic objectives from</p><p>more broadly defined economic, social and environmental</p><p>objectives. However, the focus of these scenarios is</p><p>completely outside land use, agriculture and rural develop-</p><p>ment and lacks the regional disaggregating needed for this</p><p>study. Therefore the scenarios were elaborated for land use</p><p>issues and agricultural policies typical for Europe (Westhoek</p><p>et al., this issue). This resulted in a series of four scenarios</p><p>distinguished by different degrees of global (market)</p><p>integration and different levels of (policy) regulation. The</p><p>regulation level is indicative for the ambition of govern-</p><p>ments in pursuing its goals with ambitious regulation, e.g. to</p><p>obtain equity or environmental sustainability. Scenarios with</p><p>a relatively low level of regulation include the A1 (Global</p><p>Economy) and A2 (Continental Market) scenarios. The</p><p>other two scenarios: B1 (Global Co-operation) and B2</p><p>(Regional Communities) assume a relatively high level of</p><p>regulation, including specific spatial and agricultural</p><p>policies.</p><p>The storylines of the scenarios were scaled down to</p><p>assess the effects on land use patterns by a series of</p><p>as a consequence of different contextual conditions, specific</p><p>variation in the socio-economic and biophysical conditions,</p><p>and the influence of land use history and culture (Nassauer,</p><p>1995; Naveh, 2001). Since no single method can address the</p><p>different processes at these different scales consistently a</p><p>sequence of models was used at different scales (Fig. 1). The</p><p>demand for agricultural production, development of</p><p>production levels in agriculture, demand for urban and</p><p>industrial area and changes in acreage of natural areas were</p><p>calculated on a national scale taking into account European</p><p>level and global level conditions and interactions. For this</p><p>purpose use was made of a combination of a macro-</p><p>economic model and an integrated assessment model (van</p><p>Meijl et al., this issue). The actual downscaling of the</p><p>national level changes to the landscape level was done by a</p><p>spatially explicit land use change model. For each country</p><p>(or country-group) the assessment was done separately to be</p><p>able to account for the specific driving factors of land use</p><p>change in each country.</p><p>2.2. Land use change model</p><p>The land use and land cover change research community</p><p>P.H. Verburg et al. / Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 114 (2006) 3956 41</p><p>ve dessimulation models that account for the hierarchical structure</p><p>of land use driving factors. Global trade agreements and</p><p>political structures may be an important factor explaining</p><p>differences in agricultural and industrial development</p><p>among continents and countries while local variations in</p><p>social and biophysical conditions are important determi-</p><p>nants of landscape patterns and variability. Furthermore, the</p><p>driving factors of landscape pattern are often region-specific</p><p>Fig. 1. Representation of the hierarchical procedure to translate the qualitatipatterns.has developed a wide range of spatially explicit land use</p><p>change models over the past decade. Reviews are provided</p><p>by Briassoulis (2000) and Verburg et al. (2004b). These</p><p>models differ in the spatial resolution and extent, underlying</p><p>concept and the range of applications. For the study</p><p>described in this paper the CLUE-s model (Conversion of</p><p>Land Use and its Effects model version CLUE-s 2.3) has</p><p>been chosen because of its flexibility in configuration, and</p><p>cription of scenarios into the quantitative simulation of impacts on land use</p></li><li><p>stemP.H. Verburg et al. / Agriculture, Ecosy42the ability to specify the scenario conditions in detail</p><p>(Verburg et al., 2002; Verburg and Veldkamp, 2004a).</p><p>Furthermore, the model has been widely used by different</p><p>research groups and has been validated in different cases</p><p>(Kok et al., 2001; Verburg et al., 2002). The CLUE-s model</p><p>is based on the dynamic simulation of competition between</p><p>land uses while the spatial allocation rules can be specified</p><p>based on either an empirical analysis, user-specified</p><p>decision rules, neighborhood characteristics (similar to</p><p>cellular automata models (Verburg et al., 2004c)) or a</p><p>combination of these methods. The actual allocation is based</p><p>on the constraints and preferences defined by the user based</p><p>on the characteristics of the land use type or the assumed</p><p>processes and constraints relevant to the scenario. In the</p><p>following sections we describe the specification of model</p><p>Fig. 2. Schematic representats and Environment 114 (2006) 3956parameterization in more detail. Differences between</p><p>scenarios are obtained by differences in data inputs and</p><p>variable se...</p></li></ul>


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